World Water Day: Pope Francis Calls for “Watershed” Dialogue

World Water Day (March 22) is an annual occurrence to raise awareness about water issues and tackle obstacles to clean and abundant water for everyone. This year’s focus for World Water Day is on wastewater. According to the United Nations, the world needs “to improve the collection and treatment of wastewater and safely reuse it. At the same time, we need to reduce the quantity and pollution load of wastewater we produce, to help protect the environment and our water resources.”

Facts According to the UN:

1. Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. (Sato et al, 2013)

2. 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year. (WHO/UNICEF 2014/WHO 2014)

3. The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

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